Entries from November 2007 ↓


“This coffee falls into your stomach . . . sparks shoot all the way up to the brain. From that moment on, everything becomes agitated. Ideas quick-march into motion like battalions of a grand army to its legendary fighting ground, and the battle rages. Memories charge in, bright flags on high; the cavalry of metaphor deploys with a magnificent gallop; the artillery of logic rushes up with clattering wagons and cartridges; on imagination’s orders, sharpshooters sight and fire; forms and shapes and characters rear up; the paper is spread with ink—for the nightly labor begins and ends with torrents of this black water, as a battle opens and concludes with black powder.”

–Honore de Balzac

on religion

“We do not believe in heaven or hell, yet no statistic will ever
find that without these blandishments and threats we commit more
crimes of greed or violence than the faithful.”

– Christopher Hitchens, “God is not Great: How Religion Poisons

“We rushed into the business with our usual disregard for a
comprehensive political scheme. We treated Mesop[otamia] as if
it were an isolated unit, instead of which it is part of
Arabia…. When people talk of our muddling through it throws me
into a passion. Muddle through! why yes, so we do–wading
through blood and tears that need never have been shed.”

– Gertrude Bell, scholar and diplomat, from a 1916 letter on


Nothing matters; everything counts.

Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire asked 100 people aged between 22 and 45, who went on three-minute speed dates, the best opening lines they heard. The winning lines? ‘What is your favourite pizza topping?’ and ‘Who would you be if you were going on Stars In Your Eyes?’ These give the other person the chance to respond in a light-hearted way. The worst lines? ‘I have a PhD in computing and, ‘My best friend is a helicopter pilot.’

“The world is a dangerous place. Not because of the people who
are evil; but because of the people who don’t do anything about

– Albert Einstein


“In spite of illness, in spite even of the archenemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways.”

Edith Wharton

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“Your Uncle Charles had his blood cholesterol tested late last week.
Though the verdict rendered was no worse than a rather unperspicuous
‘Normal to Upper-normal’, the penultimate modifier has caused, as you
might anticipate, much pacing and high-decibel whingeing, as well as
vows of eternal xerophagy from here on out.”

David Foster Wallace; Infinite Jest: A Novel; Little, Brown and Company;

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